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Plantar fasciitis: All about Tiger Woods’ foot condition

Ace golfer Tiger Woods on Tuesday (November 29) announced on Twitter that he was opting out of his upcoming golf tournament ‘Hero World Challenge’ due to a painful foot condition plantar fasciitis in his right foot, which makes it difficult for him to walk. “In my preparation and practice for this week’s Hero World Challenge, I’ve developed plantar fasciitis in my right foot, which is making it difficult to walk. After consulting with my doctor and trainers, I have decided to withdraw this week focus on my hosting duties. My plan is still to compete in the Match and PNC Championship,” the golfer wrote. Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the tight band of tissue on the bottom of your foot. It causes sharp pain under the heel which is the worst upon waking up in the morning. According to Mayo Clinic, most people with plantar fasciitis make a recovery in several months with treatment such as icing the painful area, stretching, and modifying or avoiding activities that cause pain. (Also read: Sitting for too long? 5 exercises to reverse ill effects of prolonged sitting)

What is plantar fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is a very common cause of heel pain. It is usually seen in active patients in 40-60 years age group. It presents as sharp pain under the heel that is usually felt with initial few steps, says Dr. Sumit Batra Director Orthopaedics and Joint Replacement Marengo QRG Hospital, Faridabad.

Symptoms of plantar fasciitis

Dr Batra opens up on the symptoms of the foot condition:

– Plantar fasciitis typically causes a sharp severe pain at the bottom of the foot on the under surface of the heel.

– The pain is usually worst with the first few steps in the morning; and decreases in intensity after taking a few steps.

– It can also be felt after long periods of standing or getting up from sitting position.

Causes of plantar fasciitis

“The plantar fascia is a thick, web-like ligament that connects the heel bone to the toes at the front of the foot. Repeated stretching and injury of the fascia can cause inflammation, leading to swelling and pain. The actual cause remains unclear in the majority of cases of plantar fasciitis,” says Dr Batra.

Risk factors

Few risk factors increase the chances of developing plantar fasciitis, says Dr Batra.

– It is found a bit more common in women than men.

– Being overweight or having flat foot also increases the chances of plantar fasciitis.

– Long distance runners and people with jobs involving prolonged standing, such as factory workers or restaurant waiters are also at risk.

– People with tight Achilles tendons (calf muscle tendon) are also more prone to get plantar fasciitis.


“The diagnosis of plantar fasciitis is usually made by history and clinical examination. Pain is felt on pressing the prominent point of the heel bone. Usually, no tests are requisite. Sometimes, an X-ray or MRI scan is done to make sure that there is no other disease, such as infection in the heel bone.

Sometimes the X-ray shows a piece of bone projecting out from the heel bone (heel spur). Research has shown that many people who have bone spurs on their heels have no pain,” says Dr Batra.


The treatment of plantar fasciitis is usually conservative in the form of medication and physio-therapy. Dr Batra suggests how to treat the foot condition.

– Pain-killers like Ibuprofen or diclofenac can control pain in the majority of cases.

– Physiotherapy remains a major part of the treatment in plantar fasciitis. It includes ice packs, stretching exercises for plantar fascia and calf muscles.

– Sometimes a night splint is recommended to keep the plantar fascia and the Achilles tendon in a stretched position overnight to maintain the stretching while the patient is sleeping.

– Soft heel pads (silicone gel pads) are also recommended to distribute the pressure on the feet more evenly.

– Injection therapy: Steroid injection injected locally can reduce the inflammation and provide temporary pain relief. Platelet-rich plasma obtained from your own blood can also be injected to promote tissue healing.

– Extracorporeal shock wave therapy: Sound waves are administered at the area of heel pain to stimulate healing. This is advised for chronic plantar fasciitis that hasn’t responded to more-conservative treatments.

– Surgery: Very few people are needed to undergo surgery that releases the plantar fascia from the heel bone. It is prescribed very rarely in patients when the other treatments have not responded well.

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